GROUP Three Rugby League premiers Macleay Valley have been excluded from the competition for 2015.
The club was informed of the decision this week and follows a meeting of the Group Three management. The club has the right to appeal the decision.
Macleay has been found guilty of breaching the group's code of conduct and the National Rugby League code of conduct during the season.
The first was from having unaccredited coaches, the second for player misconduct in a match against Wauchope at Wauchope and the third was for a player, Nigel Hookey, threatening a referee.
The group initially suspended the five lost points from the Hookey incident. Hookey was later suspended for five years.
However, those points were reinstated following the latest incident that followed the Group Three player of the year presentation held in September.
The group management claimed the club breached the National Rugby League code of conduct concerning social media.
Group secretary Barrie Smith claims there were a number of postings on the club's Facebook page alleging bias against Macleay players regarding the allocation of player of the year points. He said some of the postings were of a racist nature, where group officials were labelled 'racist redneck c.....ts.'
The posts were removed from the Facebook page although the group has copies of what was written.
Group Three cited Macleay president Dave Fernando along with players Al Lockwood, Anthony Cowan and Mal Webster from the Mustangs along with Mitch Fowler from Port City and Old Bar's Kurt Lewis, who allegedly replied to the posts.
Fowler was unable to attend the hearing as he is away working while Fernando didn't attend as he said he is getting married this weekend and had other matters to attend to. Lockwood also didn't attend. Webster and Lewis were both given severe cautions with Cowan suspended until April 20 2015.
Macleay had legal representation at the meeting with Group Three this week along with club secretary Debbie Burley and vice president Peter McMahon.
Mr Smith confirmed that Group Three has sought legal advice on how to handle the matter.
"I will be doing a seven team draw to present to our annual meeting on November 16,'' Mr Smith said.
Mustangs officials said they were awaiting notification of the outcome of the hearing and were not prepared to comment as of Wednesday afternoon.
It is understood further inquiries involving Country Rugby League and an appeal are possible.
Macleay came into Group Three this year after clubs from Grafton were added to the Group Two competition, with the Mustangs citing the extra travel burden as the reason for coming south. The club was accepted into Group Three following a vote at last year's annual meeting.
Mr Smith said the group management initially supported Macleay's application and in fact worked to get other clubs to support it.
However, he said there's been 'constant problems' with Macleay throughout the year.
Mr Smith firmly rejected any claims of bias against Macleay regarding the allocation of player of the year points. These are awarded by group management members on duty at matches.
"Macleay players were awarded 61 points more than any other club in the competition,'' he said.
"But the fact is their players took points off their team-mates. A similar thing happened some years ago when Taree City won a premiership.''
Mr Smith said rugby league has been played for many years in this area without the Macleay club and will continue to do so in the future.
He added Macleay players are free to turn out with other clubs in Group Three and beyond.